While most people celebrate Halloween on October 31, in the course of researching my book, I found out something very important in church history happened on October 31st, that has mostly been forgotten. If you go way back to the 1500's you'd find the monk Martin Luther trying to be the best monk that he could ever be.
Luther was born November 10, 1483 in Germany. He was raised to have a terrible fear of Christ. He didn't see him so much as a Savior but as an avenger. The grace of God and how He had come to bear man's sin upon the cross was not the focus of Church teachings. Martin was afraid, terribly afraid.
Martin was going to be a lawyer, in order to please his father, and make a lot of money to boot. One day, as he returned to university on his horse a severe thunderstorm broke out. Fearing imminent death, Martin promised the city's patron saint, Saint Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, that he would become a monk if she would deliver him from the storm. He was delivered, so Luther set out to be a monk.
Luther felt no relief of the fear of God in studying to be a monk. No amount of prayers, fastings, self-denial could take away Martin's guilt. Finally, one day one of his teachers told him he would become a professor and could study the Bible. When Martin studied the book of Romans where it proclaimed: "But the righteous man shall live by faith" (Romans 1: 17), a transformation occurred.
All his life he had tried to do good works to be right with God. Now this verse said righteousness came by faith in Another. It wasn't trying to keep a bunch of rules and laws. Martin Luther came to see that Christ as the Good Shepherd, who came to lay His life down from the sheep.(John 10:11)
He saw that his church was keeping people in darkness. No common people were allowed to read the Bible. It was only written in Latin. Only the clergy knew how to read Latin. To be pardoned of sin, the Church sold indulgences. For a sum of money, you could be cleared of grievous sins, like murder or robbery. Thus Jesus' agony on the cross became of no effect, since they could cheaply be bought and sold.
Luther came to a realization that his fellow church goers were being deceived. He used his study of the Scriptures to find all the ways that the Church had gotten away from Biblical Christianity. He came up with 95 grievances, or what we call today the
95 Theses. He nailed them to the door of the Church at Wittenburg, Germany on October 31, 1517.
Soon, an uproar ensued. Luther would eventually face a trial in which he was asked to recant his theses. But he remained firm. People joined his cause, and broke away from the Catholic Church, becoming known as Lutherans. Thus the beginning of the Protestant Reformation started with a troubled monk named Martin Luther.
Obscured by a pagan holiday, October 31 is an important day in church history because it opened the door for freedom for the masses of humanity to read the Scriptures once again. As Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Matthew 13: 9) Come to think of it, maybe that is why there is a pagan holiday, the devil sure doesn't want people to read God's Word!!
"Why does the world abhor the glad tidings of the Gospel and the blessings that go with it? Because the world belongs to the devil; under his direction the world persecutes the Gospel and would if it could nail again Christ the Son of God to the cross, even though He gave Himself unto spiritual death for the sins of the world."